Ever since I was little, I have been fascinated by the selfless work of many to create a world a better place. As a child, it was seeing my dad volunteer for Habitat for Humanity or my mother and sister always volunteering with my Girl Scouts troop. These works, while they may seem small, add up to a tremendous amount of energy going into the world to promote social good.
I have been fortunate to live life in an ever-changing landscape of technology. First the Internet, then cellular phones, and now it seems different forms of social media are popping up left and right. It’s an exciting time to live in – we are constantly innovating, creating faster and better ways to communicate and share our message.
This is a perfect recipe – works of social good and technology – to have lasting impact on our world. Social media, blogging specifically, has created writers, publishers, and storytellers in us all. Technology and the ease of sharing your message has “dramatically increased our social visibility” and “demonstrates the ease and speed with which a group can be mobilized for the right kind of cause” (Shirky, 2008)
So this brings me to two points:
- We are a captive audience
- We are ready to be mobilized
So, how do you, as a leader in a non-profit or public health, tap into this power?
Show your story.
It’s easy to have a blog, to share your message in written word, or maybe in photographs. But, if you want to really captivate and mobilize your audience, show your story in video. Some of the best blogs in the non-profit and public health sector have powerful and inspiring messages captured in video.
Here are some of my favorite examples:
Developed by First Lady Michelle Obama, Let’s Move is an initiative to combat childhood obesity launched in 2010.
Check out the video
What better way to tell your audience what you are about than by showing hundreds of kids getting active? Sharing a video like this, one that documents what your organization does, tells your audience “We are out there doing something and you should be a part of it.” Ok, you may be saying to yourself, “I don’t have the First Lady”, that’s ok, the power of the video comes from the kids moving and living out the mission the initiative was set to achieve. So grab a camera, an iPhone, and capture the momentum and energy around your cause.
The Fun Theory
An initiative of Volkswagen, their mission is “dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better.” (http://www.thefuntheory.com)
This is such a fun video that shows merely replacing a set of stairs with piano keys changed people’s behavior to take the stairs.
This is such an easy concept and if it didn’t encourage you to take the stairs more, I don’t know what will! Simply document what you did and share. Do you build parks in neighborhoods, or maybe a new facility for the homeless? Document the process and share your outcome. Involve everyone: your volunteers that helped make it happen and the community that it impacts. Videos like this have such a profound impact on captivating your audience and giving them an urge to act. To contribute to what you are doing.
Follow the Frog
Follow the Frog is a rainforest alliance aimed to make better and smarter consumers of us all. This video is a little different than the others. While it might have cost them more to produce, the message can be replicated. Take a look for yourself and see if you can apply it to your message.
The message is powerful. While we may not all be able to go out and save the rainforests, we can make simple decisions every day by choosing to buy products that carry “the frog”, dedicated to saving rainforests. If you want your audience to do something specific, for example buy specific products, it’s great to show why they should do it and what it impacts. It doesn’t need to be professionally produced or extremely expensive, it just needs to show your story and give your audience the big “why” should they do anything different…what is the impact?
So what are you waiting for?
Blogging is a great tool to connect your mission to your audience. While blogging wasn’t around when I was little, seeing my family involved in creating a better world was much more impactful than them just telling me about it. A video (or real life experience) has the power to captivate and mobilize. Next time you blog, think about how you want to show the world what you are about.
Let’s Move. http://www.letsmove.gov/
Follow the Frog. http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/marketing/followthefrog
Shirky, C. (2008). Here Comes Everybody. Penguin Books, New York.
The Fun Theory. http://www.thefuntheory.com/